Following further high-level policy review, Ronald Reagan issued National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 114, dated November 26, 1983, concerned specifically with U.S. policy toward the Iran-Iraq war. The directive reflects the administration's priorities: it calls for heightened regional military cooperation to defend oil facilities, and measures to improve U.S. military capabilities in the Persian Gulf, and directs the secretaries of state and defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to take appropriate measures to respond to tensions in the area. It states, "Because of the real and psychological impact of a curtailment in the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf on the international economic system, we must assure our readiness to deal promptly with actions aimed at disrupting that traffic."<quoted text>
In the 1980s, the Islamic revolution in Iran changed the entire strategic landscape in that region. America's ally in the Persian Gulf, the Shah, was swept aside overnight, and no one else was on the horizon to replace him as the guarantor of U.S. interests in the region.
With the Shah ousted, Saddam Hussein had ambitions to position himself as the new strong man of the Middle East.
He condemned the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and signed an alliance with Saudi Arabia to block the Soviet-backed attempt to take over North Yemen. In 1979, he also allowed the CIA which he had once so virulently attacked to open an office in Baghdad.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Carter began to look more favorably toward Saddam Hussein as a potential counterweight to the Ayatollah Khomeini and as a force to contain Soviet expansionism in the region.
That's where it all started.